Swedish expert, Dr. Johan Giesecke: why lockdowns are the wrong policy [VIDEO]

ER Editor: UnHerd gives its own bullet points of ideas from Dr. Giesecke under the video, but we’ve added a few extra of our own below. The date of this interview is April 17. 

Measures should be evidence-based but few of the measures taken in many countries are, such as border closures, school closures and social distancing. In Sweden, old people’s homes have been closed to visitors with other measures being optional; there is a moderate system in place. Imperial College caused the UK to go from the Swedish model to a draconian one (ER: Emmanuel Macron also intervened). Herd immunity isn’t a main reason to take a moderate strategy but is a natural by-product. Imperial College’s model was merely an internal report and never peer reviewed. Their model missed the point that hospital capacity would be increased, for example. The paper relied on very questionable assumptions.

Immunity and having the elderly die first both contribute to the ‘flattening of the curve’, not the lockdown. Deaths will automatically go down as a result of these 2 factors.

What is now inevitable, given the lockdown strategy, is that certain aspects of the lockdown will be lifted (such as letting schools resume), then some more deaths will inevitably take place, and then the school opening will be reversed and another measure tried, also with some resulting deaths. This is inevitable given the strategy most countries have adopted. Suddenly opening everything up can cause a spike in deaths. So how will they climb down from these draconian measures – did they ever ask themselves this?

How do you account for a climbing rate of disease/deaths in Sweden? Nursing home sizes in Sweden and Norway are quite different, so deaths will naturally increase in the larger Swedish nursing homes. In Finland, they started their measures early; the country wasn’t particularly hit hard anyway.

In a year from now we can judge the situation better, and it is probable that these different strategies will have no overall impact, that the results will be more or less the same for what is a quite ‘mild’ disease that few people notice they have had. So the fatality rate will be much lower than the estimates (like a severe influenza season of .1%). Millions of UK and Swedish citizens have probably already been infected, at least around 50%.

So the rationale for the lockdown is misguided and will do more harm than good. The virus has simply taken several months off people’s lives who would have died anyway. Dictatorial trends are now cropping up in many countries with huge ramifications.

Sweden could have done a better job in retrospect, but still by using the same strategy. But essentially, it is still about letting it pass through the population, producing the inevitable herd immunity. So it cannot be stopped. Even Asian countries that have been successful in containing the problem are still having to ease up on their policies because it’s not possible to keep them going.

How long can a lockdown be sustained in a democracy? In China, perhaps, but not here. In a democracy you cannot wait for a vaccine. Antibody tests aren’t very good yet so how do you create an immunity passport?

In Sweden, schools are opening and those who have to finish school and take the appropriate tests will be able to do so. The measures taken so far in Sweden have permitted an easing up to take place. Otherwise, it’s hard to know what metric will be the measure of success for when the problem is overcome. But for sure, you can’t suddenly reverse a lockdown. It may take a couple of months.

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Swedish expert: why lockdowns are the wrong policy

FREDDIE SAYERS at UNHERD

That was one of the more extraordinary interviews we have done here at UnHerd.

Professor Johan Giesecke, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists, advisor to the Swedish Government (he hired Anders Tegnell, who is currently directing Swedish strategy), the first Chief Scientist of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and an advisor to the director general of the WHO, lays out with typically Swedish bluntness why he thinks:

  • UK policy on lockdown and other European countries are not evidence-based
  • The correct policy is to protect the old and the frail only
  • This will eventually lead to herd immunity as a “by-product”
  • The initial UK response, before the “180 degree U-turn”, was better
  • The Imperial College paper was “not very good,” and he has never seen an unpublished paper have so much policy impact
  • The paper was very much too pessimistic
  • Any such models are a dubious basis for public policy anyway
  • The flattening of the curve is due to the most vulnerable dying first as much as the lockdown
  • The results will eventually be similar for all countries
  • Covid-19 is a “mild disease” and similar to the flu, and it was the novelty of the disease that scared people.
  • The actual fatality rate of Covid-19 is the region of 0.1% (ER: 1/10th of a percent)
  • At least 50% of the population of both the UK and Sweden will be shown to have already had the disease when mass antibody testing becomes available

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Original article

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